Charles Barron

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Charles Barron


Charles Barron is a New York City Councilor.

In 2012, New York City Council member Charles Barron, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives for Brooklyn’s 8th Congressional District, left vacant by the retiring Edolphus Towns.

He is married to Inez Barron.

Early life

Charles Barron has been a community activist for 25 years. In 1969, "in need of a vehicle to express his desire for justice, Barron joined the Harlem branch of the Black Panther Party." After his Black Panther experience, he attended New York City Community College, now known as New York Technical College, where he obtained an Associate’s Degree. He then attended Hunter College where he acquired his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a minor in Elementary Education.[1]

In 1979, Barron joined the National Black United Front and became the founding chairperson of NBUF’S Harlem Chapter. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Reverend Herbert Daughtry, chairperson of the National Black United Front. From 1982-87 he served as Secretary General of African Peoples Christian Organization . He traveled across the United States visiting many college campuses, churches, prisons and communities organizing around international, national and local issues.[2]

NYC Council

In 2001, Barron was elected to the New York City Council representing District 42. He serves as Chair of the Higher Education Committee and is a member of the committees on Land Use, Consumer Affairs, Women s Issues, Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses. In this role, he has sponsored and cosponsored significant pieces of legislation that have impacted the quality of life of all New Yorkers. In the winter and spring of 2003, Barron delivered $280,000 to senior citizen programs in his district. He also played an integral role in getting the Meals on Wheels program restored to the city budget for seniors in his district. Barron, in collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority, secured $12.5 million for an East New York Recreation Center. In addition, he fought to obtain $1.2 million for the renovation of Linden/George Gershwin Park in his district. As chair of the Higher Education Committee, Barron spearheaded the restoration of over $10 million for students at City University of New York colleges. Additionally, he was successful in maintaining the Peter Vallone Scholarship awards for CUNY students.[3]

Mugabe host

Charles Barron invited Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to City Hall in 2002.[4]

"NO WAR, NO WAY"

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Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.

Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.

Anti-war speakers included Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessen from Military Families Speak Out and Liz McAlister, partner and widow of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan. “No blood for oil!” demanded disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Speaking out for labor against the war: Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME 1707 and Local 215 as well as a co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; Fred Mason, president of statewide Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO; Michael Letwin from U.S. Labor Against War and Dr. Nadia Marsh from Doctors and Nurses Against the War.

ANSWER speakers included Youth and Student Coordinator Peta Lindsay, Elias Rashmawi from the Free Palestine Alliance. Jennifer Wager from IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard from PCJ and Larry Holmes and Brian Becker, both from the International Action Center.

Speakers representing other anti-war coalitions included Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-chair of United for Peace and Justice; Damu Smith from Black Voices for Peace; Medea Benjamin from Global Exchange, and Miles Solay from Not In Our Name.

Jesse Heiwa, from Queers for Peace and Justice, New York, pointed to the growing coalition of lesbian, gay, bi and trans organizations against the war. Brooklyn-based activists Viola Plummer from the December 12th Movement and City Councilman Charles Barron raised the need for anti-racist solidarity, including fighting for reparations. Singer Patti Smith and D.C. cultural artists Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy performed. [5]

WWP Rosa Parks rally

On Oct. 27, 2005 New York City Council member Charles Barron and the Troops Out Now Coalition sponsored a news conference on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan. Scores of community activists joined a dozen members of the City Council to announce the introduction of a resolution to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ 1955 arrest with a day of absence against war, poverty and racism on Dec. 1.

The news conference took place three days after Rosa Parks’ death at the age of 92.

Barron began the press conference by saying, “When Rosa Parks sat down, that is when Black people stood up.” Barron spoke of the significance of the resolution, which urges all businesses and schools to close down on Dec. 1 to allow workers and students to attend events in honor of Rosa Parks.

Barron also spoke about the “immoral and illegal” Iraq war, which has caused the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis and 2,000 U.S. soldiers, along with $300 billion wasted on this criminal war. “If you can impeach Clinton for Monica [Lewin sky], then you can impeach Bush,” Barron said.

Workers World Party leader Larry Holmes from the Troops Out Now Coalition spoke about a day-long teach-in scheduled during a march and rally on Wall Street on Dec. 1. “We need to renew the civil rights movement.... We have to say no to the racism, injustice and poverty that creates a situation like New Orleans.... We won’t allow social justice, economic justice and the struggle against war to go to the back of the bus,” he said.[6]

Anti War rally

Larry Holmes,Brenda Stokely, Charles Barron at rally

Hundreds of activists braved the cold for a march and rally that began at Times Square in New York City on Feb. 17, 2007.

Speakers included Berna Ellorin, BAYAN-USA; Mary Lou Al-Awda, Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Mary Klopart, Grannies for Peace; Ellie Ommani, American-Iranian Friendship Committee; Comrade Shahid, Pakistani USA Freedom Forum; Mia Cruz, FIST; Fallou Gueye, Union of African Workers-Senegalese; Jesse Heiwa, Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five; WayQuay, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee; Jonathan Brown, World Can’t Wait; TONC representatives Larry Holmes, Brenda Stokely, Sara Flounders, Sharon Black and Dustin Langley.

Other speakers included Councilperson Charles Barron, who recently introduced a local resolution against the war funding, Chris Silvera, chair of the Teamsters National Black Caucus and representatives from Millions for Mumia and Fanmi Lavalas.[7]

March on Wall Street

On April 3 2008 Charles Barron a member of the New York City Council, New York endorsed a Bail Out the People Movement organized "March on Wall Street" ;

Because we must demand that the needs of the people come before the greed of the super rich. Millions are jobless and homeless, and millions more will be living on the streets if the government continues to waste trillions of dollars on saving wealthy bankers instead of saving people.[8]

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

In 2008 Charles Barron signed a statement circulated by the Partisan Defense Committee calling for the release of convicted “cop-killer” Mumia Abu-Jamal.[9]

Viva Palestina

In 2009 Barron helped lead the Viva Palestina caravan that brought aid to the Gaza Ghetto. He spoke at Brooklyn’s House of the Lord Church on June 17 in defense of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza that Israeli pirates murderously attacked.

Democratic Party mouthpieces, including New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, denounced the June 17 rally, which was held in a Black church, and demanded an investigation of its speakers.

In 2006 Quinn rearranged the seating of the City Council so that Barron would have to sit under a statue of slave owner and rapist Thomas Jefferson. In addition, in 2009, she removed Barron as the chair of the Higher Education Committee.[10]

Letter to Obama

In March 2009 dozens of 'human rights groups' and activists in the United States, signed a statement urging President Barack Obama to rethink his decision to boycott the United Nations-sponsored anti-racism conference.

As you know, the Durban Review Conference is one of the most important international platforms for discussing the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances. Given the brutal history of slavery and Jim Crow in the United States, your Administration has much to contribute to this discussion. A boycott would be inconsistent with your policy of engagement with the international community…

Individual signers of the statement included Charles Barron Council member of the New York City Council.[11]

Supporting Lucius Walker

On Sept. 17 2010, Harlem’s Convent Avenue Baptist Church filled with people celebrating the example, ongoing legacy and life of the Rev. Dr. Lucius Walker. Walker, 80, died suddenly Sept. 7 at his home in New Jersey.

The headline in Granma, the daily newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, announcing his death stated, “We do not want to think of a world without Lucius Walker.”

"Joining the wide representation of Cuba solidarity, socialist and progressive activists" were Cuba’s United Nations Ambassador Pedro Núñez Mosquera; Nicaraguan Ambassador María Eugenia Rubiales de Chamorro; many members of, and the spirited choir from, Walker’s Salvation Baptist Church; New York City Councilperson and Freedom Party candidate for governor, Charles Barron; Ramsey Clark; and Akbar Mohammed of the Nation of Islam. Messages and resolutions from churches, individuals and elected officials, including congressional Reps. Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano and Maxine Waters, and author Jane Franklin were acknowledged.[12]

Freedom Party

The "memory of Fannie Lou Hamer is inspiring Black and Latino/a activists throughout New York state to build the new Freedom Party.

The party is running New York City Councilperson Charles Barron for governor, Buffalo educator and historian Eva Doyle for lieutenant governor, and Bronx activist Ramon Jimenez for attorney general.

“We are asserting our right to self-determination, our right to continue the history of that great woman — Fannie Lou Hamer — who was beaten to a pulp trying to get some parity and inclusion for Black people in the Democratic Party,” declared Barron at a June 17, 2010, news conference held at Sistas’ Place in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant community. There, he announced the forming of the Freedom Party and kicked off its election campaign.

Barron has spoken countless times at anti-war demonstrations. He’s spoken at immigrant rights’ rallies, including the huge May 1, 2006, rally in New York City’s Union Square. Barron is at the forefront of the movement for reparations for African-American people.

Barron, Doyle and Jimenez spoke at a July 11 rally held at Siloam Presbyterian Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant. So did Assemblywoman Inez Barron, life-partner of Charles Barron; Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement; and “Attorney-at-War” Alton Maddox, who for 20 years has been suspended from practicing law because of his courageous defense of Tawana Brawley. (In 1987 Brawley, who is African American and was then 15 years old, charged that six white men, including police officers, had raped her.

The Freedom Party is a break from the imperialist Democratic Party that politically strangles poor and working people. Top labor leaders avoid any real struggle against unemployment by pouring union money into Democratic congressional candidate coffers.

“We’re the only party that’s going to raise police terror,” declared Barron at the July 11 rally. He asked how the cops could justify firing 50 shots at Sean Bell and 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, killing both unarmed men.

Barron called for freeing all political prisoners. He demanded reparations for African Americans and the right of Black people to return to New Orleans. He denounced the idea of any budget cutbacks since Wall Street made $61 billion in profits last year.[13]

"Breaking the Seige on Gaza"

Left Forum 2011 took place March 18 - 20 at Pace University, New York City. The theme for the conference is "Towards a Politics of Solidarity".

Panels included "Breaking the Seige on Gaza, How Solidarity is Overcoming State Terror":

How they kept Barron out of Congress

The Workers World Party, supported Charles Barron in his 2012 bid for congress, and were very upset when Hakeem Jeffries beat him to the Democratic nomination.

The billionaire class couldn’t tolerate Charles Barron going to Congress. That’s the real story about the June 26 primary election in New York’s redrawn 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.
While trying to overthrow Syria’s government and survive the European banking crisis, the super-rich were also determined to defeat Barron. They can’t stand a single anti-imperialist voice in the 435-member House of Representatives.
After being outspent by 10 to 1, and having the entire Democratic Party establishment and capitalist media mobilized against him, Charles Barron lost. “You know you’re good when you made the governor do a robocall for a primary,” Barron told his supporters at Sistas’ Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“Bar Barron from Congress” was the title of a Daily News editorial that appeared two days before the election. The New York Post and New York Times also attacked Barron.

Brooklyn Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries got 25,000 votes to Charles Barron’s 10,000. But these figures don’t tell the whole story.
Barron was attacked for welcoming Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to City Hall. Mugabe is a liberator who has distributed land to thousands of Black farmers. That should have been done here following the U.S. Civil War.
Charles Barron was also attacked for denouncing NATO’s colonial war against Libya. Barron defended African leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was tortured to death by U.S.-NATO mercenaries.
Barron was a Black Panther Party member — or, as he put it, “always a Panther.” Whenever the police kill another innocent person, Barron comes forward to comfort family members and demand justice.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37, with over 100,000 members, endorsed Barron. So did the Amsterdam News and Black Star News.
The December 12th Movement played a key role in Barron’s campaign. Workers World Party is proud to have supported Charles Barron.
The Big Lie used to mobilize the white racist vote against Barron is that he’s “anti-Jewish” for defending the oppressed Palestinian people.
Along with former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, Barron led the “Viva Palestina” convoy from the U.S. to occupied Gaza in 2009. Among the convoy’s Jewish members who delivered aid was Sharon Eolis, one of the earliest members of Workers World Party.[14]

References